McLaren will still be allowed to use Mercedes’ reserve drivers, which means that this contract will be extended, and, in extreme cases, one of the two reserve drivers will be used.
McLaren will get to use the two reserve drivers from Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries if it is needed. In the case of Stoffel Vandoorne, a deployment would not be unusual, as he already drove for McLaren in 2017 and 2018. Nyck de Vries was previously a junior driver in McLaren.
McLaren team principal, Andreas Seidl, said: “On our side we will do the same again as last year. We will have an agreement again with Toto, with Mercedes, to use their reserve drivers in case of an emergency. We’re happy with that.”
That would leave Mercedes with at least one more reserve driver if one is given to McLaren. That is why negotiations are apparently underway with Nico Hulkenberg, who will not have a seat in Formula 1 in 2021, as he has had none in 2020.
Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne both have commitments in Formula E and have to race there as well. In the process, some races overlap with Formula 1. That’s why they’re hoping for the services of Nico Hulkenberg, who is also in talks with Aston Martin.
Toto Wolff spoke to Motorsport.com about Mercedes’ talks with Hulkenberg: “There is a situation that our two reserve drivers, Stoffel and Nyck, are racing in Formula E and there are certain races where there is an overlap. I think Nico knows the current generation of F1 cars and the tires. And it would be good to have him in the line-up as a solution, maybe to be shared with other teams, because he’s a known quantity and well respected. It would be good, but it’s not [done] yet, we didn’t put pen to paper.